Comment 81101

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:36:22

This quote from the Spec article gets right to the heart of issue:

"“Common driving errors and common pedestrian behaviour should not lead to death and injury,” said deputy chief coroner Dr. Bert Lauwers, who led the review."

People will make mistakes and our road network needs to be fault tolerant, so mistakes don't lead to death and injury. This has been a fundamental principle in all sorts of safety engineering for decades, especially in the design of active and passive safety features in cars which have made driving safer for motorists.

Unfortunately, these passive and active safety engineering principles have not been implemented for the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians and cyclists. And the simplest of the passive safety measures is to re-engineer our urban streets so traffic moves at non-lethal speeds (less than 40km/h). Note that school zones are posted at 30km/h in western Canada (contrary to what the Spec article states, the school zone speed was not "cut" in BC, it has always been 30km/h, at least for the last 30 years).

The problem in Hamilton now is that even the dangerously high standard urban limit of 50km/h is not usually respected because of our massively under-capacity multi-lane one-way network and other design flaws.

As I have pointed out before, the 2002 Durand Traffic Study found that 40% of motorists exceed 50 km/h on residential streets like Bay, Charlton and Herkimer and that 200 per day exceed 65 km/h. And this is because the roads feel "safe" for motorists at these speed because of their width and lack of "distractions".

But these speeds are lethal for any pedestrian or cyclist who gets hit, and turns crossing the street at the numerous unsignalized intersections into a dangerous game of dodge-em for elderly, disabled or young pedestrians.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2012-09-20 11:55:38

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